BOSTON -- The legendary final season of David Ortiz added a new twist on Thursday night at Fenway Park when the slugger made more news with a home run he hit during batting practice than the one he smashed to ice a 13-2 victory over the Twins.With all due respect
BOSTON -- The legendary final season of David Ortiz added a new twist on Thursday night at Fenway Park when the slugger made more news with a home run he hit during batting practice than the one he smashed to ice a 13-2 victory over the Twins.
With all due respect to the two-run shot Ortiz mauled over the Boston bullpen and into the bleachers in right-center in the eighth, it had nothing over the bullet that dented part of the metal screen attached to Pesky's Pole.
The baseball actually stuck into the pole and had to be pulled down by a Fenway Park employee.
"The ball that I hit was kind of hooking, but it was a line drive and it got stuck. I was impressed," said Ortiz. "I've been watching balls hit that for years and never any of them got stuck in there. It doesn't get any more powerful."
Ortiz was asked after the game which ball he hit harder: The one into the pole or the blast over the bullpen that Statcast™ registered with an exit velocity of 106 mph and landed 417 feet away from home plate.
"I'd say the one on the foul pole. You saw that?" said Ortiz. "That was powerful right there. I wasn't expecting that, but it happens."
When the ball came unhinged from the pole, a fan caught it and ran off with the souvenir.
"A lot of fans wanted the ball to stay there," said Ortiz. "I don't know if the umpire was going to like that."
The images of the baseball stuck in Pesky's Pole went viral. It was all, well, a little cartoon-ish.
"Well, he's got so many off-the-field things going, maybe there will be a cartoon to follow," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think some people went down and took a picture of the ball splitting the chicken wire or the mesh or whatever it is -- the steel cage. He drove the ball right through the foul pole."
But the home runs in batting practice don't actually count. Ortiz saved a little something for the Twins, the team that released him following the 2002 season and has regretted it ever since.
Ortiz was right in the middle of Boston's romp, going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs.
"He puts on a display every day," said Farrell. "And you know, the thing about his BP, we all watch it, it starts with moving the ball around the field and finishes with driving the ball out of the ballpark. It's a professional approach, and it's really fun to watch. And we're watching, I would think, history, right in front of us nightly."
In his farewell season, Ortiz is hitting .330 with 34 doubles, 24 homers, 79 RBIs and 1.096 OPS.
"Just the consistency to the at-bats, the consistency of how hard he hits the ball is really mind-boggling at this point in the season," said Farrell. "We talked about the last swing of Spring Training and it hasn't stopped since then. Extra-base hits, quality at-bats, he is on base seemingly a couple times every single night. You don't want this run to end."
The Twins might not mind when it does. In 71 games against the team he broke in with, Ortiz has a line of .330/.407/.638 with 21 homers and 56 RBIs.
"I'm expecting to do something special against everybody. You know what I'm saying? That's the mentality," said Ortiz, who says he no longer takes the matchups with the Twins personally.
What Ortiz is relishing is playing for a team that currently leads the American League East.
The Red Sox are enjoying his last ride to the fullest. And until Thursday, maybe they thought they'd already seen it all.
"To drive one through the steel mesh is pretty remarkable," said Farrell.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.